Ghana will host this year’s World Book Capital, aimed at promoting the culture of reading in Ghanaian schools.
The programme will be launched on April 23, with a series of activities, including marathon reading sessions, street jams, spelling bees, reading and creative writing competitions. It is on the theme: “Reading to connect minds for social transformation.”
The Executive Board of UNESCO, at its 215th session in Paris, France, on September 22, 2021, named Accra the World Book Capital 2023, following evaluation by the World Book Capital Advisory Committee.
Accra became the fourth city in Africa to receive the title since 2001, making the vibrant city part of the prestigious World Book Capital Cities Network.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education, speaking at a press conference ahead of the event, said the decision demonstrated the organization’s recognition of ongoing reforms in the creative arts industry in Ghana and the rest of Africa.
Cities designated as UNESCO World Book Capitals are to carry out activities with the goal of encouraging a culture of reading and communicating the values of reading amongst all ages and population groups within and outside the chosen host nation’s borders.
The Minister said the concept of the World Book Capital by UNESCO acknowledged the power of books and reading as cornerstones to a more inclusive, equitable, peaceful, and sustainable society.
He said the country, believing in this vision, also recognizes the need to address barriers to equity and inclusivity in all aspects of societal life.
Government, he stressed, had put in place interventions, including, making secondary education free, providing more schools and STEM Centers, developing adapted curricula at all levels, and improving the quality of teachers to improve learning outcomes.
Dr Adutwum said the Government had sought to implement sustainable solutions, including the use of digital technologies to improve access, equity, and inclusiveness.
He stated that the Accra World Book Capital presented a clear opportunity for stakeholders and development partners to deepen their collective actions towards making meaningful progress on the targets of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He encouraged all and sundry to inculcate the habit of reading to broaden our knowledge, saying, “Books transform the minds, and the mind transforms society.”
Research revealed that in 2015, 87 per cent of Ghanaian children in Primary 2 could not read.
The trend had increased to 38 percent as a result of government interventions, especially the National Standard Test.
According to him, in the area of culture, through the national cultural festival, the country had made strides in literacy development through drama, poetry recitals, drum language, dance, and choral music.
That, he said, was key to the goals of Accra World Book Capital and presented the opportunities for students to use diverse representations for effective communications.
Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, the Representative of UNESCO to Ghana, pledged to mobilise all partners to support the event to promote reading.
Mrs Elizabeth Tawiah Sackey, the Mayor of Accra, said the event would ignite the spirit of reading and positively impact Ghanaian society to achieve the national goal of Ghana becoming a learning nation.